In The Winners Manual, written by coach Jim Tressel during his tenure as head coach of The Ohio State Buckeyes, he has identified ten fundamentals essential for winners. Applying these fundamentals can put us on track to becoming a winner no matter what we do in life and no matter what life throws our way.
This week we’ll briefly review the next fundamental and the resources coach Tressel has used to shape his character as well as his coaching staff and most importantly, his players.
When in doubt, tell the truth. – Mark Twain
Even children are known by the way they act, whether their conduct is pure, and whether it is right. – Proverbs 20:11
Associate yourself with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation: for ’tis better to be alone than in bad company. – George Washington
Coach Tressel states, “The definitions of right and wrong keep shifting, and the line is fluid. Many people have no objective standard for judging what “right” is. So discussing what it means to “do right,” and working through it and practicing it, become welcome disciplines for our players. It helps them define their own terms of right and wrong.”
I must say here that if I didn’t know coach Tressel was a strong Christian man, I would have to totally disagree with his last sentence above, “It helps them define their own terms of right and wrong.” However, I know that coach T. takes every opportunity possible to share biblical principles with his staff and players. In this case, once God’s principles of right and wrong are presented to the players, they are free to accept or reject them. In my opinion, rejecting God’s commands and principles for what is right and what is wrong is not a wise choice for anyone!
Coach T. says, “Nobody wants to be talked to like a child. But, we know that, like children, young adults can forget about the importance of being responsible and doing right. In one impetuous moment, they can lose all they’ve worked so hard to achieve. So we tell them, ‘We know you already know this, but we want to remind you.’ We want them to know how to distinguish wrong from right, bad from good, and better from best.”
The reputation of a thousand years may be determined by the conduct of one hour. – Japanese Proverb
There is no pillow so soft as a clear conscience. – French Proverb
Coach T. goes on to say, “I like to use the word conscience instead of character because it takes the focus off of our opinion and puts it on the actions of the other person. The book of Proverbs says, ‘Fear of the LORD is the foundation of true knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline’ (1:7). Reverence for God, a conscious desire not to disappoint him, is where it all begins.”
I strongly believe coach Tressel would fully agree with Pastor Andy Stanley’s definition of character and use it right along with Proverbs 1:7—“Character is the will to do what is right, as God defines right, regardless of personal cost.”
Hold yourself to a higher standard than anyone expects of you. Never excuse yourself. – Henry Ward Beecher
There is a choice you have to make in everything you do. So keep in mind that in the end, the choice you make, makes you. – John Wooden
Action springs not from thought, but from a readiness for responsibility. – Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Manners are like the zero in arithmetic: they may not be much in themselves, but they are capable of adding a great deal to the value of everything else. – Dame Freya Madeleine Stark (1893-1993)
Coach Tressel says, “We encourage our players to exercise responsibility and right living by having class. Class is the way you carry yourself; it’s not a socioeconomic designation. It’s not about how much money you make or don’t make. It’s not a way to pigeonhole people. Class is a way of life—a way of acting with confidence and style that reflects well on you and your team. It’s having the freedom to do anything you want but choosing the right path.”
It takes less time to do the right thing than to explain why you did it wrong. – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Conviction is worthless unless it is converted into conduct. – Thomas Carlyle
DO IT WITH CLASS Class is respect for others. It is a deep and genuine respect for every human being, regardless of their status in life. Class is having manners. It is always saying "thank you" and "please". It is complimenting people for any and every task well done. Class is treating every other person as you would want them to treat you in a similar situation. Class never makes excuses for one's own shortcomings, but it always helps others bounce back from their mistakes. Class never brags or boasts about one's own accomplishments, and it never tears down or diminishes the achievements of another person. Class does not depend on money, status, success, or ancestry. The wealthy aristocrat may not even know the meaning of the word, yet the poorest man in town may radiate class in everything he does. If you have class, everyone will know it, and you will have self-respect. If you are without class---good luck, because no matter what you accomplish, it will never have meaning.
Coach Tressel ends this chapter saying, “And when you think about it, that’s what the fear of God is. I don’t ever want to disappoint God. I want him to be happy about the way I’m living my life, and I accomplish that with my commitment to finding out what “doing right” is and then doing it.”
I’ll continue to mention each week that The Winners Manual is an excellent book to recommend to your children and grandchildren whether they are active in sports or not. This book is filled with a lot of great life lessons and wisdom you can pass on to those you love and care about!
See you next week for more Wisdom Matters from coach Jim Tressel.